Friday night the Screven County Gamecocks faced something they had not encountered the entire season, playing from behind.
The Gamecocks season ended last year in the state quarterfinals and it happened again, as Rabun County won 56-14 in the Class AA state playoffs at Kelly Memorial Stadium.
Quarterback Bailey Fisher lived up to his reputation as he passed for 221 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 148 yards and three scores. The Wildcats offense, under offensive coordinator and former Georgia Southern quarterback Jaybo Shaw, was hitting on all cylinders as Rabun County outgained the Gamecocks 523 total yards to 268.
“Hats off to Rabun County they have a very fine football team,” said Screven County head coach Ron Duncan, “We didn’t play too well, but all the credit goes to them.”
The first quarter was totally unexpected from two teams that average over 40 points per game as it was a defensive battle, with neither team able to move the ball, and ended at 0-0.
The pace of play offensively picked up quickly in the second as Rabun County quarterback Bailey Fisher hit Austin Jones for a 22-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage for a 7-0 Wildcat lead. Screven answered quickly on their second play from scrimmage as Armani Bunbury hit Tyquan Johnson on the sidelines, and Johnson sprinted past the defense for a 67-yard touchdown.
Rabun answered with a 3-yard quarterback sneak by Fisher and the Gamecocks then hit paydirt on their first play from scrimmage on a 79-yard bomb from Bunbury to a wide open Johnson, tying the game at 14-14. The Wildcats answered that score with a 5-yard Fisher keeper to take a 21-14 halftime lead.
“We felt like we went into halftime in pretty good shape,” said Duncan, “We hoped to get something going in the second half we would have a chance to win the game. We weren’t able to get into any kind of rhythm, and Rabun was moving the ball pretty well offensively.”
The Wildcats hurry up offense seemed to wear the Gamecocks down in the second half. Fisher hit Jones with for a 6-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-14. That score held up until early in the fourth as the Wildcats pulled away, Fisher hit Cole Keener for a 25-yard score, then Fisher scored on a 3-yard run.
After a Screven interception Fisher hit Keener with a 20-yard touchdown to make it 49-14.
“The Fisher kid was pretty special tonight,” said Duncan, “He’s a great kid, he’s a hard runner and a great quarterback. When we tried to pressure him he checked to the fade or the slant, and when we dropped back in coverage he ran the ball well.”
The Gamecocks were a senior laden team this year, and according to Duncan, this year's group will be sorely missed.
“We are certainly disappointed in the outcome,” he said, “But it doesn’t take away what these seniors have meant to our program and our returning players will have a lot to live up to.”
Screven County ends the season with an overall record of 11-1. Rabun County is now 13-0 and will host Brooks County next Friday.